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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
Picked it up on the random and glad I did!

I haven't read any sci-fieque stuff for ages but I found this easy enough to dive into, reasonably paced and a really fun read. There's some great twists in the plot and it's done a great job of destroying my free time this week.

Well worth a look

AJ
Published 17 months ago by Ant Jones

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Still not doing it for me.
I love to spend time between the covers of books. This is purely as I get to live multiple lives spending time in multiverses that give me something special with each expedition and whilst not every book is to my own taste they do give me something different from the norm whether its lessons in writing or telling a story in a different manner to that which I'm used...
Published 16 months ago by Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling sci-fi, 19 May 2013
This review is from: The Age of Scorpio (Paperback)
This is a fast-paced thrill-ride and Smith wastes no time with lengthy exposition or build-up. A few pages in, and I had no idea who was going to survive or who was going to die, this felt fresh and unpredictable.

Smith's novel has cracking dialogue, with sardonic humour and a world weary cynicism permeating proceedings. The technology is impressive and inventive, and when the action comes, it is desperate and frenetic.

With three plot strands: past, present and future, there is always a danger that reader attention could drift or favour one storyline over the other. Yet, thanks to Smiths skills as a writer, all chapters neatly interweave together and I was gripped throughout.

The gamers influence is strong and integral to the plot. This is a slick action sci-fi adventure that jumps from ancient Britain, contemporary Britain and our future in outer space.

Smith writes characters well, particularly his two main female ones of Britha, an ancient Briton and Beth from our own time. Both are three dimensional humans who really consider their actions and feel the consequences. Both are trying to do what is best for others, and both go through the mill in order to do it.

Other notable standouts are Malcolm Du Bois, a grizzled police detective with a difference, and Vic and Scab, two comic but deadly bounty killers.

The violence is at times shocking, getting so over the top that it almost becomes comic. Whether this is intentional or not, I do not know. There are only so many savage beatings, broken bones, decapitations and dismemberments before you become jaded with it all. The unflinching violence is however integral to the plot so can be forgiven here.

With striking imagery and Smith's incredible imagination, this is a dramatic and exciting slice of sci-fi. Very ambitious in scope and lengthy at over 500 pages, this will reward its readership with a thoroughly entertaining, multi-layered story with compelling heroines and anti-heroes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!, 26 April 2013
This review is from: The Age of Scorpio (Paperback)
Picked it up on the random and glad I did!

I haven't read any sci-fieque stuff for ages but I found this easy enough to dive into, reasonably paced and a really fun read. There's some great twists in the plot and it's done a great job of destroying my free time this week.

Well worth a look

AJ
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keeps you thinking, 22 May 2014
Excellent. Keeps you guessing and keeps you thinking. Appealing and realistic characters that you can’t help rooting for, even if they aren’t perfect this only makes them more approachable. I can’t wait for the follow up.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fast-paced dash through time and space!, 21 May 2014
This review is from: The Age of Scorpio (Paperback)
Overall, I enjoyed this book a lot more than I expected.

I'm not generally one for space adventure and so in that sense, the cover, the blurb and the first chapter of the book would have normally led me not to consider it for my reading list - however - it was recommended to me based on some of the other story-lines and so I thought I'd give it a go.

The first thing that I liked about this book was the tying together of the three different story-lines. They were set in the past, the near future and the distant future and I loved finding the little hooks and similarities between the three as I progressed through the novel. I thought that Smith dealt with these plots very well and managed to keep my interest through all three which, with the way in which they range from the space-travelling, S-tech, bounty hunters and Elites - to the ex-con and the hunt for her missing sister through the drug and tech crazed near-modern world - to the celtic, warrior-woman and the various mystic magic and fantasy elements was quite impressive.. I love how he brings magic, fantasy and technology crashing together into quite a well laid-out story.

On the other hand, something I found very off-putting throughout the whole story was what has cost this book one star of my review - and that was the amount of sexual references. I'm not opposed to them generally, but I found that whenever something sexual came up, it was dealt with so clumsily that it brought me out of the story - enough for it to ruin it a bit for me because it was so frequently done. That and the dolphin (WHY!?). When you get to it, you'll know.

The amount of research behind this story was the thing that truly did this book justice and the beautiful delivery of Britha's ancient druid magic, the strength of character in Beth and the comical way in which Vic bumbles through 'trying out' human emotions - and the references to the 'mother' in all of the stories, really made this book for me. I'm not sure if it's because I enjoyed some of the semi-obscure references to the old pictish and celtic traditions and their gods and goddesses and then also found interest in the bio-technology but I found myself, for the most part, gripped by this book and I was really satisfied by the ending.

I think it was a very difficult concept to go for as a sci-fi author but actually, I'm glad that he wrote this as I think it's an impressive addition to his collection and I'm looking forward to another one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric and absorbing, 8 May 2014
By 
Paul (West Sussex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Set simultaneously in the distant past, the extreme present, and the far future, 'Age of Scorpio' is a more ambitious novel than Smith's earlier books. The different timelines are expertly handled and the interlinked stories are all equally compelling. Horrific, melancholy, action-packed and even blackly humorous, 'Age of Scorpio' is an atmospheric and absorbing story with flashes of genuine originality.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More complex, grimmer and less accessible but good., 2 May 2013
I'm struggling to write this review as Im not yet sure what my feelings about this book are. Lets try some facts and get to opinions later. First there is a distinct departure in structure from the Authors 2 previous works Veteran and War In Heaven which followed a single character against the backdrop of a 60 year long interstellar war.

Instead we have a multi-stranded novel in a new universe covering humanities distant past, the present day and its far future. The past strand follows proto-British and Celtic legend with more than a few nods towards the classic 2000AD character Slainés world although the major character is a woman. There are also small hints of vintage Michael Moorcock.

The present strand follows 2 characters a covert operative and an female ex-con as they both get caught up in the search for the womans missing sister. It's well done with hints of mythology and alien technology lurking in the shadows.

The future strand covers 2 bounty hunters named Scab and Vic in a post human galaxy where multiple races and factions vie for control of a mysterious cargo that may hold the key to control of the mysterious hyperspace domain known as Red Space access to which an organisation known as the Church has full control.

Opaque at first the bulk of the novel goes onto describe how these worlds begin to collide and events in one spill over into the others.

And now the critique.

Technically the writing is a cut above that in veteran - although the style remains similar - brutal and unrelenting - the authors growth in technique is obvious.

The main flaws with the novel lie with its appreciably harder to penetrate narrative with the reader required to interpret and understand three separate universes with tiny reveals at a time in order to avoid to much cross pollination of the 3 strands too early in the novel and thus allowing the reader to predict the major plot points early. Some may like this gradual discovery - I prefer the background story a little more obvious and more self explanatory. Another complaint would be the lack of the trademark black humour found in Veteran and War In Heaven which was something that would have countered the unremitting misery of parts of the story and something - since this book is grimmer - badly needed.

The final criticisms are the multiple cliff hanger endings - one for each storyline - the cavalier disposal of one of the main characters, and the dozens of unanswered questions such as who or what are the Eggshell, and the Brass City and who made L-Tech? Throw your readers a few more bones next time Mr Smith! To end on a happy note - well done on the Warp Spasm! (Google it)

So a solid 4 star book which only drops a star due to its lack of accessibility in comparison to his earlier works.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good fun but some of the characters are a bit weak., 7 Oct 2013
By 
Malcolm Roy Ash (Aston-by-Stone, Staffs United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I mean bad guys who roll over too easily. I doubt such people would rise to the top of crime without being just a bit tough and nasty.
To quote Churchill “We sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us.” Some of the bad guys in Scorpio could be deterred by my mum's older sister's gran. Such plotting ends up making the bad guys mere caricatures.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Still not doing it for me., 6 May 2013
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Age of Scorpio (Paperback)
I love to spend time between the covers of books. This is purely as I get to live multiple lives spending time in multiverses that give me something special with each expedition and whilst not every book is to my own taste they do give me something different from the norm whether its lessons in writing or telling a story in a different manner to that which I'm used to.

Yet Gavin has always been an author that whilst I thought was OK, was never one that really jumped to the top of my TBR pile when it landed. Don't get me wrong, its solid storytelling, it has great combat and when added to characters that are needed to stand against the trials that Gavin throws at them really should give you goose-bumps at the very thought. Yet for all of this, it's the characters that aren't hooking me in the way that they should be. They feel fairly flat and whilst the story is pretty high octane they don't have me caring enough to really worry about their health when each matter reaches a head.

All round as usual something reasonable and definitely a book that I had an alright time reading but still nothing to make me stand up and shout about.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Something of a disappointment, 9 Dec 2013
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This review is from: The Age of Scorpio (Paperback)
After having a lot of fun with Gavin Smith's previous novels, I was looking forward to getting into this one. Unfortunately, it didn't really deliver.

To begin with, don't believe the blurb for this book (something of a pet peeve of mine, I will admit). It actually describes about the first chapter or so, after which Sloper and his crew are dead and his story is over. The novel actually has three storylines, only one of which is really convincing.

The first one, set in the future, actually follows bounty hunters Scab and Vic on a chase to recover stolen technology. This easily has the best plotting, but is still stymied by a rather confusing backdrop, which reads as though the reader is already familiar with who everyone is, what all the different terms mean, and so forth. For instance, the difference between "S-tech" and "L-tech" is apparently important at various points in the plot, however the only difference I could see is they have different letters in their names.

The next is a crime thriller-style story set on Earth in the present day, which works all right as a self-contained story. And the final one is set in the distant past, and is so downright confusing that it's difficult to describe. None of the three story arcs seem to have anything in common, and none really have a particularly good conclusion.

All in all, a confusing mess that would probably have worked much better as three separate stories. Hopefully a sequel will clarify some of what is going on.
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The Age of Scorpio
The Age of Scorpio by Gavin G. Smith (Paperback - 18 April 2013)
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